CAR showrooms reopen on Monday with zero per cent finance deals and payment holidays on everything from city cars to family SUVs.
Here’s five tasty buys that caught my eye, and a bonus one that beats the lot.
Even if you’re not in the market for a new motor, the resumption of car sales is great news for everyone as it keeps our factories busy and fires up the economy.
1. MINI COUNTRYMAN
Who’s it for? Stylish school-run mum.
What’s new? Hard to believe the not-so mini Mini is now ten years old.
This one, the second-generation Countryman which surfaced in 2017, has just been facelifted.
Mini has not gone bonkers and tried reinventing its phenomenally successful “soft-roader” when it patently wasn’t broken in the first place, so it’s the usual tickle of updates to keep it fresh.
All the engines are now compliant with Euro-6d regulations and it adopts the Union Jack rear lights.
Inside, funky blue or brown leather upholstery choices have been added, as has the option of a 5in digital instrument cluster.
There’s also a plug-in hybrid model carried over from the pre-facelift car and the choice of ALL4 all-wheel drive – although as these XL Minis will never do anything remotely strenuous off-road, you’re better off sticking with the front-wheel-drive models.
Price: From £23,500
2. KIA RIO
Who’s it for? Aunt Ada
What’s new? Refreshed for 2020 with the usual nip/tuck – new lights, new colours and cleaner engines.
But there are two very intriguing bits of kit that raise its appeal even further.
The first is mild-hybrid technology, fitted to the 1-litre three-cylinder engine.
The second is some-thing called iMT (intelligent Manual Transmission) which Aunt Ada will appreciate most.
It does away with the trad cable between left-hand pedal and clutch itself, replacing it with a sensor for what is termed clutch-by-wire”.
This brings many benefits, in terms of eco figures and auto-like manners, but it should also mean that Ada, who slips the clutch constantly, shouldn’t prematurely wear out the unit on the Rio iMT.
To be fair, Rio isn’t just for aunties.
It’s a cracking little supermini that you’d be delighted with too.
Price: From £13,500
3. VW T-ROC BLACK EDITION
Who’s it for? Darth Varder
What’s new? T-Roc is one of VW’s most eye-catching models, and you’ll want the Black Edition more.
Here’s a T-Roc SE in moody black.
Radiator grille, door mirrors, roof rails, 18in Arlo alloys, exhaust-pipe finishers – all black.
Dashpads, roof lining, leather-wrapped gearknob, multi-function sports steering wheel – all black roo.
VW says there’s £2,000 worth of extras on the T-Roc Black Edition, for £400 more than an SE.
Choose from 115hp 1-litre three-cylinder or 150hp 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engines or a couple of turbo diesels.
Body also available in yellow, blue, orange or red. I kid you not.
Price: From £23,750
4. VOLVO XC40 RECHARGE
Who’s it for? Global citizen
What’s new? Everything. This is Volvo’s first all-electric car.
They quote 249 zero-emission miles per charge and say its 78kWh battery can be rejuiced to 80 per cent in 40 minutes with a fast connection.
But not only is the XC40 Recharge green, it’s keen.
Twin electric motors produce 408hp and see it sprint soundlessly from standstill to 62mph in 4.9 seconds.
The interior is gets the usual Volvo quality and kit, plus it debuts the latest Google Android-powered infotainment.
The XC40 Recharge isn’t cheap is almost twice the price of a standard petrol XC40.
If that’s too steep, try the XC40 T5 – it’s a plug-in hybrid.
Price: From £53,155
Out: Order now for 2021.
5. CITROEN C3 RIPCURL
Who’s it for? Surfer dude
What’s new? Citroen has teamed up with surf brand Rip Curl for this special that’s trendier than TikTok.
Take one C3 Aircross in Flair trim (1.2-litre three-cylinder turbo petrol), add gloss-black roof bars, skid plates, contrasting roof, 16in Matrix black alloys, flashes of orange and Rip Curl wave graphics – and you’ve got the coolest little Citroen on the road.
It’s a looker inside, too – grey-striped Terpa fabric seats, with more orange, Rip Curl floor mats, and a load of useful connectivity and infotainment like 7in touchscreen satnav to direct you to the best surf spots on our coast.
Price: From £26,110
BONUS: BMW 5 SERIES
Who’s it for? Big dog exec – and me, too, please!
What’s new? They used to call the 5 Series The World’s Best Car, in the Nineties. It’s still not far off.
This Mk7 facelift is more in line with its little 3 Series brother.
At least BMW hasn’t afflicted its genius saloon (there’s a Touring estate too) with the huge kidney grilles of the larger 7 Series.
Five plug-in derivatives will be available in the facelifted Beemer, and an M550i xDrive model with 530hp and 3.8-second 0-62mph time.
Still need that M5 Competition? New detail, cleaner engines and sharper styling mean the best just got better.
Price: from £37,480